Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016 - Looking back over the season... am I better than I started?

I’ve written/talked a lot as of late about the 5/6 grade girls that Jon and I were privileged to coach this season; it was a group that had some experienced players as well as some that had never played before… That also means the skill sets for the girls were very different as well. As I have mentioned in recent weeks, the girls went undefeated through the season and there were a lot of folks celebrating the outcomes on the scoreboard. Don’t get me wrong, I was too (I like winning); but other things excited me more as a coach…

This week I want to specifically talk about the girls that had no experience coming in. These girls joined the team and some could not even shoot the basketball up to the rim, catch passes, or dribble. They joined our team with no pre-requisites on skill sets or understanding of the game. In the final week of practice a mom from one of the older teams commented about their improvement as she saw the girls making lay-ups (even left-hand lay-ups), dribbling, passing/catching, etc. During the final weekend (conference tourney) I was thrilled when I asked a girl that came in with no understanding of the game about a defensive assignment and she pointed out on my white board that she should be in the lane in “help defense” because she was “weak side in the zone.” I saw girls running lanes and keeping proper spacing. The season was a blast for us as coaches, and for the parents/fans, as we saw continued improvement and understanding! I saw every single player on our team get better daily!

Throughout the season I would ask the girls, “Do you want to get better?”; “Is it ok for me to coach you?”; “Are you better today than you were yesterday?” And with each question the answer was “yes”!

But what if the story were different? What if the girls answered “no”? That could be an indicator that either the girls simply didn’t care about improving or that we were not good coaches…

What if one of the girls just rested in the fact that she was on the team… and at the end of the season just celebrated the fact that she was on the winning team… but still had no understanding of the game, no improved skill set, etc.?

Spiritually speaking I call this the “’Just as I am’ Syndrome.” I run into so many believers that want to celebrate the fact that they are saved by grace apart from works… that they got “on the team” not based upon being good enough but because Jesus is good enough… that it was not based upon a particular skill set or understanding of the game…

Please don’t get me wrong… I don’t know of anyone that trumpets the (come as you are), (just as I am), grace Gospel than me! Salvation is God’s commitment to us / payment for us! Yet once on the team I believe we should daily seek to grow! I believe our prayer should be “Jesus thank you that I come as I am, help me to go as You are!”

Ephesians 4:1 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,” (Note: this follows 3 chapters of celebrating “Just as I am - Jesus paid it all”!)

Ephesians 4:17, 20-24 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind… but you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in  the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Do you want to get better?

Are you better today than you were yesterday?

Are you regularly in the “Playbook” renewing your mind (learning the game of life)?

Are you sitting under solid teaching to help you grow as a “player”?

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